By Stephanie Cairns
What a ridiculous question. Objectively, the winter Olympics are nothing more than a group of adults, using different techniques to throw themselves down a mountain, or across a sheet of ice in pursuit of a small scrap of rubber. Freestyle skiing is nothing more than one man with two pieces of wood strapped to his feet. Even our beloved hockey is just a glorified version of winter soccer mixed with a little primal boxing. As I write this, my dog desperately chases his favourite squeaky toy. Catching it will achieve nothing, will give him nothing but a short-lived sense of satisfaction, yet still he growls and leaps, trying with all his might to capture it back from my father's teasing hands. Sports, like a Shih Tzu chasing a toy, have no intrinsic value. They produce nothing we can touch, use, eat, wear or even learn from. And yet we love them. We cheer on our team as if our lives depended on it and we shun all those who don't see their value. Even me, writing this article is considered sacrilege, with the writer labelled as a disgrace.
How dare she call herself Canadian, you're probably thinking. And you know what? You're completely right.
Even if, objectively, the Olympics are ridiculous, meaningless and a way for rich countries to show they are superior to one another, they still hold value. Even if Sochi cost Russian taxpayers 50 billion dollars, and were little more than a veiled propaganda tool for a corrupt leader, the Olympics still hold value. Why? Because we say they do. We decided as a nation to unite under that red and white flag, to wave it proudly, and that's an amazing thing. That's an entire country coming together, celebrating and striving for the same victories, the same sense of success. There was something magical in those two weeks, something miraculous enough to convince at least one cynical, completely un-sportsy teenager to don that scarlet maple on game day, and to scream with joy at each gold medal.
So was it worth the money, worth the strife it caused? I don't know, but I do know one thing. The Olympics have value, and they have inspired us, and will continue to inspire us; inspire us to try, to fail, to live.
Objectively or not, that's a wonderful, wonderful thing. Go Team Canada, go!